Every time you buy a vehicle, there is always someone who would recommend you to check when the timing belt is worn out. However, you have never bothered to know why is it so important and when was the last time it was changed. On a serious note, you do not even know what it means, do you?
Well, no need to get hysterical. All your questions will now be answered!
Timing Belts and Timing Chains
Both the timing belts and the timing chains are made to perform the exact operation. They are used to link the camshaft and the crankshaft and make them rotate in synchronized position. Even though their functions and operations relate but they still have slight differences. They also tend to have both positive and negative effects of using them. They are fitted according to engine’s needs and requirements and capacity. There are not many engines that have both of them. You will not be able to see them with the naked eye if open the bonnet of your car as they are guarded by metal or plastic covers to protect them getting damages from dust and debris.
To break it down for you, there are basically two halves in an engine. The top half consists of the cylinder head, camshafts, and valves. The bottom half consists of the cylinder block, crankshaft, and pistons. The main purpose of the timing belt or chain to make sure that the top and bottom halves of the engine must rotate in synchronization with each other. And at any point in time, if these two halves do not coordinate each other and do not get in-sync, the engine will stop running efficiently. There are several reasons why the halves may go out-of-sync, such as they could be placed wrongly in the first place, or maybe because of a timing belt or chain is worn off. Nevertheless, when the engine stops working properly and starts to malfunction. There are some symptoms that you should observe, which are mentioned below
- Rough Running
- Trouble at starting
- Insufficient of Power
- Engine is backfiring or Misfiring
- Smoke coming out from the engine
They are made of rubber and are connected to the crankshaft. The purpose of timing belts is to monitor and enforce to push and pull the piston in its core. The purpose of a camshaft is to allow intake and exhaust to occur at one at a time. The belts are rubber-made and therefore there is no need to lubricate them time after time.
The need for a change of the timing belt usually arises around 100000 miles, as the recommended by several well-known manufacturers. However, to be on the safer side, it’s better to check with your mechanic or manufacturer from time to time. It’s always a good idea to change pulleys and tensioners that are joint with timing belt simultaneously. It’s better to change the water pump as well. As water pump and timing belt do go about the same amount of ordeal. Cars made nowadays have often water pump installed behind the timing belt. In order to change the timing belt, you’d have to remove the water pump from its position as well. So, why not change both of them at the same time and reduce the hassle of changing the water pump to a later date.
They are made out of metal and therefore they are made to last longer. The durability is one of the main advantages of Timing chains. Their lifetime and duration also depend on the model. To avoid breakage and malfunction, it constantly needs oil lubrication. They are only be replaced when there starts malfunctioning.
The downsides of timing chains are their loud noise levels and the other is when these chains break. This results in drastic consequences for the engine. Unlike Timing belts, timing chains generally do not have any relation with the water pump. So, there is no obligation to change both of them simultaneously.
Relative to Timing belts, timing chains also have the same purpose inside the cylinder. They are meant to control and maintain the correlation between the crankshaft and the camshaft movements. Unlike timing belts, they heavily rely on engine oil pressure. If the oil pressure is low or none at all, this could lead to offsetting the engine timing. Then the engine will perform poorly and the chain malfunction could lead to serious damages.
Warning of a worn timing chain
Noise, Obviously the noise. It is the most frequent symptom and warning of a worn timing chain. They can also become sloppy and loosened up and can have an impact on the protective covers when rotating. The clattering noise means that the chain is on brink of reaching its limit and should be changed urgently.
Choking in the ignition, This will happen when the chain is not positioned correctly on the gears resisting the engine to start.
Struggling, During driving, you may feel like the car is struggling to move. It may backfire, misfire or shudder during the driving. This is how the car is letting you know that the timing chain is not functioning properly and needs to be looking into.
Use the following precautionary measures in order for a long-lasting timing chain.
Selection of engine oil, The engine oil should be accurate that is recommended by the manufacturer. Do not be stingy on when it comes to the life of your engine.
Change Oil and Oil Filters, It is recommended that you change your oil and its filter on a regular basis. Unable to change oil and oil filters on time may lead to disastrous consequences for your engine. This may also lead to permanent seize your engine.
Aware of odd noises, Always be aware and vigilant of your surroundings when you drive your vehicle. If you observe any odd and strange noise from your car, be sure to check that out to your mechanic.
The Timing belt or chain breaks, what now?
If and when the timing belt or chain breaks, it’s better to know which type of engine is placed under. There are two types of engines mainly, interference engines and non-interference engines.
Majority of the car have interference engines. An interference engine is where halves and pistons reside in the same place in the cylinder but not simultaneously. The main advantage of interference engines is accuracy and precision. Nevertheless, in case of the wreckage of belt or chain, there will be a collision inside of interference engine. There is no such collision in a non-interference engine, as they do not share the same space.
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